The Wedding Cake Class at Baking Arts San Francisco

Arriving in San Francisco was such an exciting time for Mav and I. We met with Richard Festen at Baking Arts to get ourselves into gear for what was going to be an incredible 4 days. My dear friend and colleague Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet joined us in our mission to get all of our equipment set up perfectly. During our prep time, we all discussed our curiosities as to how the 4 days would unfold. For me, it was exciting and daunting all at once... so many months of preparation, finally one single day away...

To my absolute delight, The Wedding Cake Class was a brilliant success, and we could not have asked for a better group of students to share this with. Our host Richard made our time at Baking Arts as comfortable, warm and fuzzy as can be, baking wonderful treats for us each day, preparing brilliant lunches, delicious pastries and cookies, and always serving a fresh pot of coffee to enjoy it all with. Thank you Richard for allowing 3 excitable girls to take over your spotless studio and cover the walls and floors with sticky ganache. Thank you for being such a gentleman.

Jacqueline soon after posted a beautifully written blog entry about our time teaching at Baking Arts, and I am so excited to be sharing the post here at but before I do, I'd like to thank Jacqueline for supporting my crazy ideas and always pointing me in the right direction. It was such an honour to have the opportunity to be taught by you, and now with you. I cannot wait for the next one! A sincere thank you also to the woman who opened her studio door to a cake curious girl, the awesome Faye Cahill - Thank you for always offering the greatest in cake advice, amazing opportunities to teach, and be apart of your wonderful creative world. You are a star. And finally to my dearest friend Mav, I just don't know where to begin...You are a joy to know, and I can't wait to do this all over again.


So here’s Jacqueline’s  lovely story of how it all unfolded. For more beautifully written reviews of Petalsweet classes and more, head over to The Petalsweet Blog  -


The Wedding Cake Class 2011, by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet

I had the fabulous opportunity to teach at Richard Festen's Baking Arts studio in San Francisco a few weeks ago, where I co-taught a four day class that covered the construction and decoration of a beautiful two-tier wedding cake:

The concept of this class was conceived after my dear friend and colleague Viola Doyle of Project Sweet Stuff (Sydney, Australia) introduced me to the amazing cake designer Faye Cahill (also in Sydney) and her wonderfully talented staff.

While teaching sugar flower classes at Faye's cake studio this past June, I mentioned that I thought decorators in America would love to learn the Australian methods of using ganache and fondant to create a perfect canvas for finishes and sugar flowers. After an initial brainstorming session, Viola came up with a class idea that would incorporate one of Faye's cake designs with some of my Petalsweet sugar flowers. Our friend and colleague Richard at Baking Arts was contacted, travel details were quickly put in to motion...and the mock up of the final design was created on one of my last days at Faye's studio! Within a matter of weeks, Viola had worked with Mav Georgeson (Faye's fabulous lead decorator) to put together an incredible curriculum for a four day class...and the dates were scheduled for late September.

Fast forward from June to mid-September when Viola and Mav finally arrived in San Francisco several days before me to work with Richard on the final preparations for class. I arrived in time to unload and organize the flower supplies and get a good night's sleep before our nine students arrived the following morning.

My co-instructors...the wonderful Viola and Mav:

Welcome to the beautiful Baking Arts studio:

Prepping for Day One:

Mav, Viola and our wonderful host, Richard...Richard is an amazing pastry chef and teacher, and offers a wide range of incredible pastry classes at his studio. He also just happens to make a fabulous cup of coffee - the perfect way to start four very busy days:

Some of the stunning and delicious morning treats Richard made for all of us (photo by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography):

Starting to work on the cakes...filling them with chocolate ganache:

Students watching Viola demonstrate the next steps in preparing their cakes:

Starting the ganache process:

And the absolutely beautiful and perfect results:

Day Two started with modeling a lot of different buds and filler flowers:

And then covering the cakes with fondant:

Perfect and pristine...and ready for the next phase of decorating:

Day Three was a very busy one for the students as they learned how to stack their cakes, and then pearlize and add gorgeous stenciling to the fondant. In addition, I needed them to make LOTS of peony petals and leaves for the final design...

Stacking demo:

Making sure the top tier is centered:

Stenciling demo:

Sugar flower peony demo:

Explaining the peony petals and construction of the flower:

The Day Four morning session started with the students dusting all of their buds, flowers and leaves to bring them to life...and then in the afternoon they assembled their beautiful peonies:

Beautiful hydrangea petals, buds and leaves ready for one of the cakes (photos by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography):

The remaining class time was spent adding the ribbon finish at the base of the tiers, and arranging the sugar flowers on the are a few photos that capture some of the fun and details of the afternoon (next 3 photos by Annie Loo of Michael Muramoto Photography)...

Arranging demo:

Beautiful student work:

Happy and grateful instructors...we absolutely loved every minute!

And finally a class photo featuring all of our gorgeous and wonderful students and their stunning cakes:

MANY thanks to my fellow instructors Mav and Viola for a fabulous four days of teaching and truly wonderful time together! Miss you - love you both!

A dear thank you to my friend and colleague Faye Cahill for sharing your beautiful cake design with our students...and for the great honor of letting me finish your design with my sugar flowers.

A huge thank you to our incredible host Richard Festen...we loved working in your gorgeous studio, and we thank you for all of your assistance in making this dream come true!

And finally, heartfelt thanks to all of our students for coming to this unique class and giving us the opportunity to work with you and share our knowledge with was such an absolute pleasure - thank you for your kindness, thoughtfulness, hard work and endless smiles!

Thanks for stopping by...more updates and photos coming soon!

Copyright © 2011 by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes. Content of this blog (including text, photographs and layout) is the property of Jacqueline Butler - please respect copyright laws. If you want to link to my blog, or post any of my photos, please contact me - it would be great to have the opportunity to connect with you. Thank you!



Thanks again Jacqueline!